It’s perhaps ironic that the very first post on Add2bag should be about a cancellation, rather than an ‘add to bag’ shopping experience. But such is online shopping.
I was recently doing some reasearch on Guvera as a potential investment opportunity (worthy of a post all by itself), so wanted to read some articles on Guvera and AMMA Private Equity. I found snippets of some intriguing articles on the Courier Mail website, but was required to pay the princely sum of $6 per week for subcriber access.
I read the articles and satisfied myself that Guvera was not going to be the right investment choice for me.
A couple of weeks and countless emails from the Courier Mail later, I remembered I no longer required subscriber access to the Courier Mail. It was time for us to consciously uncouple and save myself $6 per week.
But it seems the Courier Mail, or News Ltd, was not so keen on a separation.
As you’d expect, I started by going to the Courier Mail website and finding the Contact Us page. The ‘Contact us form’ link simply goes nowhere. I mean, the link does not even open. So you cannot submit any enquiry this way. Ooops!
So, I gave up on the site and dug out the original confirmation email, then clicked on the ‘My Account’ link. This took me to My News Account page, where I clicked on the ‘contact us’ link in the left hand nav. This one worked. Hooray!
After entering my name, email address and phone number, I selected ‘Cancellation Request’ from the drop down enquiry menu, thinking ‘I’m almost there’.
But News Ltd had other ideas. What I saw as a simple request to cancel a service no longer required, News Ltd saw as an opportunity to squeeze a few more cents out of me.
As soon as you select the ‘Cancellation Request’ option, the form becomes unusable and a box appears instructing you to call a 1300 number.
Faced with absolutely no alternative, I made the call.
After going through about 3-4 levels of recorded options, I finally got to speak to an operator. I hasten to add that the person I spoke to was perfectly pleasant, but it was pretty clear that her job was to try and sell me into another service.
When she realised this wasn’t going to happen, she informed me that subscriptions are charged 4 weeks in advance and since the last charge went through a week ago, she could only offer a partial refund.
Now I’m sure this was all in the T&Cs and the operator has assured me I will be refunded from this point forward. But it cost me the price of a flat white and a good fifteen minutes out of my day to complete a very simple ‘unsubscribe’ process.
Whilst I’m certainly not suggesting there was anything unscrupulous going on, the process was unnecessarily inconvenient, left me a few bucks out of pocket and quite frankly, felt very tacky.
I was able to subscribe very quickly, without needing to speak to anyone. It should be possible to reverse the process just as easily, without having to incur phone charges.
I’ll think twice before subscribing to an online newspaper again.